Primary requirements for spiritual advancement:

 

1. Good company: People who renounce the material comforts of the world and devote their life to God, only they can serve as a source of inspiration and can promote the feeling of renunciation in others. The main characteristic of spiritually advanced people is that they only listen about God and always think about God. This is visible in their actions. They are kind and humble. There are many times that you can face difficulties in your meditation. During such time, the company of spiritually advanced people and their experiences can serve as a good source of inspiration. When we are mentally confused and are unable to make contact with the divine energy, then the company of holy people helps us a lot.

2. Avoiding company of materialistic people: Sometimes there are circumstances when we are unable to keep company of holy people. In such situations we should try our best to avoid unnecessary conversations with materialistic people. This is because the waves of impure thoughts can develop and strengthen negative thoughts in the subconscious mind. It is not necessary that such negative thoughts are developed every single time or their effect is seen in some other form immediately. But when there is some shortcoming in our own jaap, then the seeds of impurities become strong and influence our mind.

3. Save your own energy: When we are in the beginning of our own sadhna, then we should fully concentrate on the aim of our sadhna. We should not try to explain anything to others or indulge in unnecessary arguments to try to prove ourselves right. This precaution needs to be taken till we are spiritually well advanced and have full control of our mind. This is because it takes a lot of energy to change someone else's heart and in the initial stages of sadhna, we don't have enough energy accumulated that it will be enough for our advancement even after being spent on someone else. When we are well advanced on the spiritual path, then we have a constant connection with the divine and can constantly derive energy. This is why our personal energy does not get depleted even if we use some energy to cause a change of heart in someone else. For example, divine intuition cannot be understood by worldly individuals. If you get some intuition then you should keep it to yourself because a worldly person (a person who believes in only what he sees) will only think of it as your imagination. Such a person can discourage you by making fun of your intuition or by arguing against it. The better thing to do is not to waste your energy and to follow the path shown by God and make you energy even more powerful.

4. Don't condemn others: When we are progressing on the religious path in our lives, then we should be careful not to waste our time on condemning the actions of worldly people. If we are not able to fully renounce materialistic people for some reason, then we should be fully aware and use our mental strength to ignore their negative thoughts. By doing this, you make a strong security fort within ourselves and not let harmful thoughts and feelings enter your mind.

5. Renounce ego: Ego is the biggest hurdle on the path of spiritual advancement. Being in holy company makes us realize how egoistic we are. Ego is main culprit behind our worldly ties because it gives rise to desires. The only way to get rid of ego is to devote all our actions to God with full faith and a clean mind.

6. Faith towards your Guru: A true Guru is the only person who can introduce us to the reality of life and make his disciple fully capable. It is true that before having complete faith, you should recognize a true Guru but once this is done then the disciple should place his complete faith in the Guru and not test his Guru again and again. You should also not change your Guru again and again in quick succession. A true Guru does not chase name, fame, or money. He does not teach for himself. His heart is pure, soft and full of knowledge. It is the duty of the disciple to constantly remember the divine connection of the Guru with God. A disciple should not try to analyze the external actions or the physical form of the Guru. Without having complete faith, humility, respect and devotion towards your Guru, it is not possible to have knowledge of God.

7. Remembering your Isht Devta: The mantra/prayer given by a siddha Guru should be repeated again and again ritualistically. During jaap, your isht devta should also be meditated upon along with the mantra.

8. Renunciation and detachment: Spiritual progress is not possible without renunciation and detachment from worldly desires. There is a natural inclination of the mind towards worldly dispositions. Because of this, there are greater chances of straying from the spiritual path because the mind can slowly get entangled in the world and remove itself from meditation, jaap, etc. It is not necessary that you have to renounce the world totally. You should just try to keep your mind away from worldly temptations. Spiritual acts like jaap, etc. are the only way to control your mind. For example, if we love someone, then we are influenced by their thoughts, characteristics and actions and waste a lot of our time. If that person is not able to give you attention then you become anxious and indulge in activities which have no significance in life. This just ends up wasting time and you lose a lot of positive energy. We should not give up that person but give up our feelings of love, hatred, anger, etc. Sacrifice or renunciation is the continuous process of cleansing our mind. When you water a garden, then weeds also grow along with flowers. We have to careful to remove the weeds only. Similarly, by sacrifice and renunciation, our internal negativity gets destroyed.

9. Controlling expectations: When we expect something out of someone else and they don't fulfill it, then it makes us very sad. We should also renounce our expectations. First of all, we should give up all our bad habits and then all our impure thoughts. Giving up thoughts is much more difficult than giving up bad habits but only by doing this, can we change our tendencies and advance on the path of spirituality.

10. Always be alert: A spiritual seeker should always be alert and aware of each and every thought generated in his mind. He should use his unbiased discretion and separate the good thoughts from the bad thoughts and then remove the negative thoughts and imaginations from his mind. Our thoughts play a vital role in our character building because each thought leaves an impression on our mind. If a thought creeps up again and again then it becomes strong and develops into action and can even become an integral part of our personality. This is why, constant alertness towards our thoughts helps to shape our personality and is very important to advance spiritually.

11. Controlled life: Only a seeker who regularly does his jaap, meditation, follows non-violence, renounces ego, worldly desires, and leads a content life can easily channel his mental faculties to attain God.

12. Patience and practice: The mind cannot be controlled by practicing spiritualism for a few days or months. For this, a person should patiently remove his mind away from worldly topics and only think about his absolute aim for a long time. In the initial stages of sadhna, it is very difficult to steady the mind, but regular practice done patiently can calm the mind down slowly and lead to a state of bliss during meditation.